Smart Nutrition Notes – September 2014
Though we reluctantly turned the calendar to September, back to school is in the air, the energy is shifting, and it’s a great time of year in northern New England! The weather has been unusually gorgeous, the leaves are just starting to turn in places and we are looking forward to a fabulous fall harvest.
Tomatoes and peaches (and cukes) abound at farm stands and local farmer’s markets so we are highlighting them for the September recipe.
There is lots going on for Smart Nutrition this fall. Hoping you can join us for one or more of our events! See the list below.
Overcoming Weight Loss Resistance
I can’t tell you how often I sit across the desk from people, women especially, who are very clear that they are doing everything they need to lose weight, including counting calories and regular exercise, but who are not losing weight. It’s no wonder they are frustrated and depressed about their lack of success.
But it’s important to understand that the old calories-in/calories-out model is terribly outdated because it doesn’t take into consideration several variables that can affect fat loss. It has become very clear that it’s no longer just about dieting and calories. It’s also about knowledge, about nutrition and about yourself.
If you are struggling with an inability to lose the expected 1 to 3 pounds of fat a week, there are some things you need to know about your lifestyle which could be keeping you from making the progress you would like.
Some Lifestyle Considerations:
Chronic Stress — The fight or flight response is an innate response which is hardwired to help you survive, such as getting out of the way of an oncoming car when it is headed right at you. But when you are “on” all the time stress becomes more chronic. When it does your cortisol levels can get out of whack. High circulating levels of cortisol break down muscle and increase fat storage, especially belly fat.
Also, you will notice when you are stressed you crave foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt which clearly don’t help the situation and can make it worse. For example, blood sugar fluctuation increases cortisol. To help you manage your blood sugar levels, eat a breakfast with protein within an hour of rising and avoid more than a 3-4 hour gap between meals and snacks.
Learning how to manage your stress more effectively — whether it’s through yoga, meditation, prayer, or just spending time with a pet or someone you love — should be a high priority for someone who is challenged with weight resistance.
Sleep — there is plenty of research documenting the impact of sleep on weight resistance. When you don’t get the recommended 7.5 to 9 hours of recommended sleep you are considered sleep deprived.
This causes you to wake up with higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. As already mentioned, this fuels your appetite and cravings—particularly of carb laden, high fat, salty and sweet foods. Many studies show that we overeat the next day after a poor night’s sleep even when we have eaten enough.
Good sleep actually helps you to lose weight by influencing the hormones that control your appetite and increase your metabolism. A good night’s rest boosts leptin which is the hormone that encourages you to stop eating.
Thyroid Issues — The thyroid secretes hormones that regulate the activities of almost every cell in our bodies including how quickly we burn calories and maintain our metabolism. Unfortunately, thyroid issues are grossly under-diagnosed. If you believe your thyroid is borderline, stand your ground. Ask your doctor how well your inactive T3 is being converted to active T3. Know your numbers and understand the impact they can have on your body.
Thyroid fatigue can impact metabolic rate, sex hormone levels, overall mood, well-being, and the ability to build muscle. Low thyroid has also been implicated in heart disease. Some signs of low thyroid include dry skin, thin brittle nails, loss of one third of your outer eyebrow, weight gain, fluid retention, cold hands and feet. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is a good idea to get further evaluation by a doctor you trust.
Toxicity — We are constantly bombarded by toxins in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. It’s very difficult in the modern world we live to avoid some level of toxicity. It’s to the point where even newborn babies have over 200 foreign chemicals in their cord blood.
Being toxic affects your thyroid function as well as your hormones, particularly weight control hormones. I have worked with hundreds of individuals using a science-backed cleansing program to help them overcome weight resistance. If you think you are toxic, this is a great way to get back in balance.
Food Sensitivities — Common offenders include wheat, dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and eggs. For some individuals these foods create leaky gut, an immune response, and inflammation. An elimination diet is the best way to tackle this. Remove these foods and look to see if you can get the needle moving on your scale.
Digestion — Healthy gut bacteria is key to maintaining normal weight and metabolism. On the other hand, an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, and depression. Several factors contribute to unhealthy flora including antibiotics and other medications like birth control pills and NSAIDs; diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods; diets low in fermentable fibers as well as chronic stress and infections.
Not Eating Quality Food — Forget about calories as a way to judge the value of a food. The more important question is whether or not the food is whole. Does it come from a good source, i.e., grass fed vs. corn fed. Is it processed? You will eat healthier if you choose foods that are not processed and don’t even have a label. Stick to the outside aisles in the grocery store!
For example, if you eat those 100 calorie snack packs—what are you really eating? Try some low fat unsweetened Greek yogurt and add some berries as an alternative, or just the berries if you don’t tolerate dairy. Food is information for your body. Different foods affect our metabolism and hormones differently.
The more you can take your entire lifestyle and the types and quality of foods you are consuming into consideration as you embark on a weight management program, the more you can expect to have great success.
Recipe of the Month
The Smart Nutrition Recipe of the Month, Peach and Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber Yogurt incorporates the delicious fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs available these days. Enjoy! Click here to download the recipe (PDF)
Monadnock Wellness Festival – Soupfest—Saturday, September 20, Community Center, Peterborough, NH. We won the “Wicked Healthy Soup” award last year with our Smart_and_Spicy_Lentil_Soup. Come see what we’ll be offering up this year.
Skin and Nutrition Presentation—Feel Fabulous from the Inside Out, Jeni Skin Care, Tuesday September 23, 5:30 to 6:30, 67 Emerald St, Keene, NH
Sta-Fit—Clean and Lean program—FREE introductory session, Sta-Fit, Wednesday September 24 6:00 to 7:00, 815 Court St, Keene, NH
Health and Wealth Festival—Saturday September 27 from 11 to 3 at my Amherst office, 5 Northern Boulevard. Come meet some of the best health and fitness professionals in New Hampshire. Raffles, free prizes and fun. Proceeds will go to the NH Breast Cancer Coalition.
Core Consciousness—Clean and Lean program— FREE introductory session, Wednesday Oct 1 from 5:30 to 6:30, 103 Roxbury St, Keene, NH
Look and Feel 10 Years Younger, Souhegan H.S. Adult education course, October 6 through Oct 27th from 7:00 to 8:00
Smart Nutrition has moved its Peterborough office. Our new location is 20 Grove St, downtown Peterborough.
Not sure if working with a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist is right for you? No worries. Just call me at 603-924-9505 to set up a free ½ hour screening appointment.
Our services include phone and online counseling. This is a great way for you to access our services if you live outside of Southern NH or if you prefer to receive services in the comfort of your own home. If you have friends or family who can use our services – anywhere in the country – we can help and always appreciate referrals.